Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Important Information about Credit Card Debt for Everyone During Tough Financial Times

With the price of gas as high as it is and the rising costs of food, it is important for those using credit cards to start watching fees and interest rates carefully. 

A good article to review is "Drowning in Debt: Deceptive Credit Card Practices" from CNN.  The following is a short snippet from the article.  You can follow the link at the bottom of the page to review the rest of the article.

"If you are having problems call customer service.  'There is so much spotlight on this industry right now [credit card companies] are being a lot more careful about negative publicity,' Arnold said, referring to the practices lawmarkers like Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., dub unfair and deceptive. 'Use the publicity as leverage.'

"Many card companies are willing to lower your interest rate, raise your limit or waive a fee as a one-time courtesy if you ask nicely.

"'We strongly encourage our customers to engage with us directly' said a representative from CitiCards. 'Particularly if they have questions about their card, payments or credit limit.'"

Source: CNN.com - http://money.cnn.com/2008/05/23/pf/credit_debt/index.htm?cnn=yes

May 27, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Medicare-Medicaid agency announces low-cost equipment providers

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Monday released the names of the 325 suppliers that have signed contracts with Medicare to provide certain medical equipment and supplies to beneficiaries in Kansas City and nine other communities throughout the country at significantly lower prices than Medicare pays now.

The suppliers were selected based on a competitive bidding process conducted in 10 U.S. metropolitan areas, including Kansas City. The bids were solicted in 10 product categories, which include various types of durable medical equipment, orthotics, prosthetics and supplies.

A list of the selected contract suppliers can be found online.

"We are pleased that Medicare beneficiaries living in the 10 first-round communities will continue to receive high-quality service and supplies from the suppliers participating in Medicare's competitive bidding program," CMS Acting Administrator Kerry Weems said in a release. "All of these contract suppliers have met our stringent standards, so beneficiaries can be assured they receive their equipment and supplies from legitimate suppliers."

The new competitive bidding program goes into effect on July 1. Because beneficiaries pay 20 percent coinsurance on the cost, they as well as Medicare will directly benefit from the savings.

Based on bids submitted by the selected suppliers, beneficiaries and Medicare will see prices, on average, 26 percent less than Medicare pays for the same items. CMS received bids from 1,005 suppliers. There were just less than 6,200 bids for one or more product categories in competitive bidding areas where the new program is being implemented. CMS offered contracts to 23 percent of suppliers that submitted bids. These suppliers were in the winning price range and met quality and financial standards and disclosure requirements.

Source: Kansas City Business Journal

May 20, 2008 in Medicare | Permalink

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Not elder law: French divers discover oldest ever bust of Julius Caesar

Divers in France have found the oldest known bust of Roman dictator Julius CaeJcsar at the bottom of the River Rhone, officials have said.  The marble bust was found near Arles, which was founded by Caesar.  France's culture ministry said the bust was from 46BC, the date of the southern town's foundation.  The ministry described the bust - which shows a lined face and a balding head - as typical of realist portraits of the Republican era.  It said other items had been found at the same site, including a 1.8m (6ft) marble statue of Neptune from the first decade of the third century AD, and two smaller statues in bronze.  Divers taking part in an archaeological excavation made the discovery between September and October 2007.

Source/more:  BBC, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7402480.stm

May 15, 2008 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

CMA study highlights serious health and safety issues in nursing homes

Nursing home decisions issued by the Department of Health and Human Services' Departmental Appeals Board (DAB) in 2007 highlight serious failures in care that cause residents to suffer unnecessary pain, injury, trauma, and death. "Despite the serious deficiencies reflected by these cases, the federal enforcement response is usually modest, at best," said Toby S. Edelman, Senior Policy Attorney with the Center for Medicare Advocacy and author of the just-released report, Nursing Home Decisions of the Department of Health and Human Services' Departmental Appeals Board, 2007, an analysis of nursing home enforcement decisions issued by the DAB. "The federal government imposes only minor fines for these deficiencies," she continued, citing a case where a trivial $4050 fine was imposed when a resident strangled to death on her bedrail, after having fallen out of bed numerous times and been found caught by the bedrail in the same way a week before.                   

The Center for Medicare Advocacy's study of the 85 decisions is the first study ever made of the administrative appeals filed by nursing homes when federal remedies are actually imposed against them for poor care. "The study shows not only that the problems in care are serious and that penalties are modest, but also that facilities choose to appeal these enforcement actions through the administrative appeals process. Almost always, the facilities lose their cases," Edelman said. The government won 66 of the 71 cases that reached the merits of the appeals - a 93% success rate.

The Center for Medicare Advocacy recommends that the regulatory system, unchanged for more than a decade, be updated. The Center calls for a stronger and faster enforcement response to the serious noncompliance that these cases reflect. The federal enforcement system should impose larger fines for facilities' failure to provide residents with the care they need, not just for failing to correct problems, and it should include a broader array of federal remedies to impose against facilities that harm residents.

May 14, 2008 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 12, 2008

ABA CLA updates APS/mandatory reporting charts

New charts on mandatory (and voluntary) reporting to adult protective services (APS) are now available.  These charts were prepared for the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) by the ABA Commission on Law and Aging (ABA Commission).

http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/NCEAroot/Main_Site/Find_Help/APS/Analysis_State_Laws.aspx) or directly from the ABA Commission’s elder abuse Web page (http://www.abanet.org/aging/about/elderabuse.shtml or go to the Commission’s home page, www.abanet.org/aging and then click on the “Elder Abuse” tab on the page’s left side).

These charts answer some of the most frequently asked questions in the elder abuse field: “How many states have mandatory reporting?” and “Who is required to report elder abuse?” Knowledge of the reporting provisions in APS laws is critical for individuals who are mandated or who wish to report suspected elder abuse, members of professions and disciplines that collaborate with APS, and victims or people who are concerned about them.  Additionally, state and federal legislative staff, other policy makers, educators, researchers, and reporters often want to know what states have mandatory reporting and who is required to report their suspicions about elder abuse to APS. 


May 12, 2008 in Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

UN celebrates disabilty rights convention - in force on May 3

The UN is celebrating the coming into force of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) - a landmark agreement that aims to give the world's 650m disabled people full equality.  Adopted in 2006, and opened for signature in March last year it took effect on 3 May a month after the 20th nation ratified it - in this case Ecuador.  This is fast, officials say, reflecting the commitment of some nations to the treaty's goals, as well as pressure from the disability lobby.  It is estimated that about 10% of the world's population lives with some sort of disability - making disabled people the world's largest minority.  This figure is likely to increase as a result of medical advances and the world's ageing population, according to the World Health Organisation.  Disabled people experience a number of social, cultural and economic barriers which the convention aims to address.  For example, the World Bank estimates that 20% of the poorest people on the planet have a disability.  Disabled women are said to be "multiply disadvantaged" because they experience exclusion on account of their gender and their impairment.  In some countries, disabled child mortality is as high as 80% even when the general level of mortality for the under fives has dropped below 20%.  And almost one in five of less educated people has a disability compared with just over one in 10 of those who are better educated.

The CRPD guarantees disabled people:

  • The right to make their own decisions
  • The right to say No to being placed in an institution
  • The right to say No to medical or psychological treatment
  • The right to live in the community
  • The removal of barriers to participation in daily life
  • Equal opportunities for all

22 nations have ratified the treaty. The US is not among them.

Source:  BBC

May 12, 2008 in Discrimination | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Latest issue of NCEA E-news now online

The May issue of the NCEA E-News is now online at:


  • Calendar…15
  • WEAAD Webcast Archived…14
  • Elder Abuse Research…13
  • Federal Legislation Update…11
  • Funding and Scholarship Opportunities…10
  • Delaware Celebrates 25 Years of APS…8
  • Question of the Month…7
  • National PSA Series Ready for Airing…3
  • National Training Survey Under Development…3
  • MOSAFE Unveils New Video…2
  • Updating NCEA Promising Practices Clearinghouse…2
  • NCEA Student Arts

May 9, 2008 in Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New report on residential care and assisted living--get it while it's hot

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Residential Care and Assisted Living Compendium: 2007

Robert Mollica and Kristin Sims-Kastelein, National Academy for State Health Policy
Janet O'Keeffe, RTI International
November 30, 2007

This compendium describes regulatory provisions and Medicaid policy for residential care settings in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It updates an earlier report completed in 2005 with data for 2004.

The original intent for this edition of the compendium was to provide data for 2006. However, due to the increased availability of current data on states’ websites, we were able to collect data for 2007. Information was collected between February and August 2007 by reviewing state websites and regulations and calling key state contacts to verify information. Section 1 provides an overview of residential care and assisted living policy. Section 2 presents six tables, which compare states’ policy in selected areas. Section 3 provides summaries of each state’s regulations and policy for residential care settings, including assisted living facilities (ALFs).

The 2004 edition of the compendium differed from prior editions in that it used “residential care setting” or “residential care facility” (RCF) as the generic terms for all types of group residential care settings, rather than the term assisted living. The 2007 edition continues the use of these terms. Although many states use the term assisted living generically to cover virtually every type of group residential care on the continuum between home care and nursing homes, for many stakeholders the term assisted living still represents a unique model of residential care that differs significantly from traditional types of residential care such as board and care. When discussing state statutes and regulation, the compendium uses the terms that each state uses.

May 9, 2008 in Housing | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

This one pretty much ruined my breakfast...

Since they first walked the planet, humans have either buried or burned their dead. Now a new option is generating interest — dissolving bodies in lye and flushing the brownish, syrupy residue down the drain.  The process is called alkaline hydrolysis and was developed in this country 16 years ago to get rid of animal carcasses. It uses lye, 300-degree heat and 60 pounds of pressure per square inch to destroy bodies in big stainless-steel cylinders that are similar to pressure cookers.  No funeral homes in the U.S. — or anywhere else in the world, as far as the equipment manufacturer knows — offer it. In fact, only two U.S. medical centers use it on human bodies, and only on cadavers donated for research.  But because of its environmental advantages, some in the funeral industry say it could someday rival burial and cremation.  "It's not often that a truly game-changing technology comes along in the funeral service," the newsletter Funeral Service Insider said in September. But "we might have gotten a hold of one."

Source:  AP, http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5ifodxwqgqRNgn74m2nZOLId0xCOwD90HKMBG0

May 9, 2008 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

And now for the How Did I Miss This report

FroliklaPittsburg prof and all around wild and crazy guy Larry Frolik recently published "Residence Options for Older and Disabled Clients"

This book is a comprehensive guide to the many different types of housing available for aging and disabled individuals. It starts with the most independent type of living, proceeds through transitional forms of housing and ends with an in-depth discussion of medically assisted housing. The book covers virtually every type of senior housing possibility except the recreational r.v.  With this book you will learn not only about the various types of housing but the pros and cons of each.

Get the book here.   No free copies for law professors, sorry!

Larry will be autographing copies of the book in the lounge at the Maui Hilton next week during the NAELA meeting in Hawaii... Kidding.


May 8, 2008 in Housing | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Not elder law: Genenic code of world's oldest mammal revealed

Scientists have deciphered the genetic blueprint of the duck-billed platypus, one ofPlaty the oddest creatures on Earth.  The animal comes from an early branch of the mammal family, and like mammals it is covered in fur and produces milk. However, it lays eggs like a reptile.  Researchers say this unique mixture of features is reflected in its DNA.  The genome sequence, which is published in the journal Nature, holds clues to how humans and other mammals first evolved, they add.  The platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) is the latest in a string of mammals, including the mouse, rat, sheep, horse and dog, to have its genome decoded.  But it is the only member of the monotremes (egg laying mammals) for which we have a genetic blueprint.  The platypus is so strange that it was considered a hoax when sent from Australia to European researchers in the 19th Century.  "It has a very weird appearance because it's a mishmash of the bill of a duck, the eyes of a mole, the eggs of a lizard and the tail of a beaver," Dr Ponting told BBC News.

Source/more:  BBC News, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7385949.stm

May 8, 2008 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

How much less do prescription meds cost in UK? inquiring minds want to know

Summary of the data:

Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) provides details of the number of items and the net ingredient cost of all prescriptions dispensed in the community in England. The drugs dispensed are listed alphabetically within chemical entity by British National Formulary (BNF) therapeutic class.

In the PDF file, the number of prescription items dispensed for individual preparations, dressings or appliances is rounded to the nearest 100. There are a very large number of preparations/dressings/appliances where only 50 items or less were dispensed in 2006. While accounting for just under 50 per cent of the total number of preparations dispensed, such preparations covered less than 0.02 per cent of the total items dispensed. In order, therefore, to keep the publication to a manageable size, such preparations have been excluded.

The Excel file also excludes data on products where less than 50 prescription items were dispensed and aggregating data for individual products may not produce the actual totals.

The data in the file for prescription numbers, cost and quantity are given to the nearest hundred. However we would recommend that any data extracted for use is presented to the nearest thousand.

Get report.

Then compare US drug costs.

May 7, 2008 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Profs. Doron and Mewhinney publish collection of international documents relating to rights of the elderly

Received from Dr. Israel Doron, Haifa University:

It is with great pleasure that I am letting you know that a new book, which I and Prof. Kate Mewhinney have edited, has just been published.

"The Rights of Older Persons:  A Collection of International Documents".

The book (pubIssipic1lished by a collaboration of:  IFA – International FederatiMewhinkaon on Aging;  AGE Concern UK;  ILC India;  and JDC-ESHEL in Israel) provides a unique collection of all the main, important international documents relating, at the international level, to the status of the aged and the phenomenon of ageing.  For the first time, readers, the aged and professionals all over the world can obtain a comprehensive picture of the worldwide activities in the field of international law and ageing.

The link for further details and for purchasing is the following:


I believe this book could be very helpful for anyone in the field of elder law get an international-comparative perspective on the international documents relating to older persons. 

May 7, 2008 in Discrimination | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 2, 2008

May is Older Americans Month!

National Health Policy Forum (NHPF) reports on legal services to elderly

The National Health Policy Forum (NHPF) recently issued reports on
programs that provide services to older Americans:

. The Aging Services Network: Accomplishments and Challenges in
Serving a Growing Elderly Population
[http://capwiz.com/ncoa/utr/1/DPERIKBPNG/OIEDIKBPQT/1951062716] examines the expanding number of seniors and their
need for additional services. The report finds that the aging network
will require more funding to meet the increased need.

. The Basics: Older Americans Act of 1965
[http://capwiz.com/ncoa/utr/1/DPERIKBPNG/LOCTIKBPQU/1951062716] outlines the major titles of the OAA, along with
Fiscal Year 2008 funding.

May 2, 2008 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)